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2024 Does Insurance Follow the Car or the Driver in Florida?

Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys

Car insurance is a requirement for every driver in the state. The state follows the no-fault rule, so when an accident happens, an injured driver must make a claim against their own insurance even if they did not cause the accident. It’s important to note, however, that car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. This means that if you allow someone to borrow your vehicle, you are essentially allowing them to borrow your insurance policy with it. If an accident happens while they are using your car, your insurance will likely apply the same way as if you were driving.

Resolving the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging, especially if your vehicle was involved in a crash and you were not driving. The main issue that comes into focus when it comes to determining whether your insurance applies is whether the other driver’s use of your vehicle was permitted. If you allow them to use your vehicle, then your insurance essentially goes with them. However, if they borrowed your vehicle without your permission, you may only be responsible for the damage to your vehicle, while they will face liability for their own medical expenses.

What to Do After a Car Accident

If your vehicle is involved in an accident and you were not driving, you may still need to file a claim against your own insurance policy to recover your damages. Your insurance may apply to the injuries suffered by the person who borrowed your vehicle as long as you gave them your permission to use your vehicle. Every insurance policy has different terms and conditions when it comes to reporting accidents, so make sure you report an accident as required, even if you were not driving. This will help to prevent a denial of coverage for an accident you did not cause.

It’s wise to consult legal counsel after any accident. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the insurance claim filing process, and they will verify that the insurance company handles your claim in good faith. If your vehicle is stolen and the person who stole it is involved in an accident, you are unlikely to face liability for it and would have grounds for legal recourse against the at-fault party. This is just one example of complex issues that might arise concerning other people using your vehicle, with or without your permission.

Ultimately, insurance alone may not cover the total damages resulting from an accident. An experienced attorney can help extract maximum value from an insurance claim, or you may need their assistance to ensure you are not held responsible for damages you did not cause. Insurance premiums sometimes increase after policyholders report accidents, but this typically only happens when the policyholder is at fault. However, if you let someone borrow your vehicle and they cause an accident, or if they are unlicensed and you were unaware of this, your insurance company may increase your premium rate, apply additional penalties under the terms of your policy, or even deny coverage.

FAQs

Q: What Happens if Someone Else Drives My Car and Has an Accident?

A: If you lend your vehicle to someone else, you are essentially allowing them to borrow your insurance as well. If they have an accident while driving your vehicle, your policy will likely cover their damages. However, some insurance policies have specific wording indicating who is covered and who is not in an accident. Insurance typically differentiates between permissive and nonpermissive use as well, so carefully review your policy to understand how and when your coverage could be affected by an accident.

Q: Does a Car Have to Be in Your Name to Insure It?

A: You cannot insure a vehicle that you do not own in Florida. This means a vehicle must be registered in your name before you can purchase an insurance policy for the vehicle. It is possible for more than one person to share ownership of a vehicle, and one of the owners may purchase insurance for the vehicle. However, joint ownership also means joint liability in certain situations.

Q: Do I Need an Attorney to File an Auto Insurance Claim?

A: Technically, no, you do not need to have legal counsel to file an auto insurance claim after a car accident. However, there is no guarantee that an insurance company will handle your claim in good faith or present a fair settlement offer. Some insurance companies even engage in bad faith tactics to avoid liability for accidents. Having legal counsel that you can trust can reduce your chances of encountering such problems and make the claim process much easier to navigate.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Car Insurance Claim?

A: You must file your insurance claim for a car accident within 14 days of the accident; otherwise, the insurance carrier could deny your claim. Every auto insurance policy has different reporting requirements as well. For example, you may have 14 days in which to file your claim, but your policy may dictate that you must notify the insurer of an accident within 24 to 48 hours of the accident.

Q: Can I Sue Another Driver for an Accident?

A: Florida follows a no-fault rule for accidents, meaning you need to claim against your own auto insurance after an accident regardless of who caused it. However, if you suffered severe injuries and your insurance cannot fully cover your losses, you have the right to seek accountability from the driver who caused the accident. This can yield compensation for the damages your insurance cannot cover.

Spohrer Dodd Trial Attorneys routinely represents car accident victims in the state, and we know the challenges you might face in the auto insurance claim filing process. We can help you confront an insurance company to ensure a fair evaluation of your claim, and we can assist you in resolving any disputes regarding fault for a recent accident. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our firm and learn more about the legal services we offer for car accident victims.